June 15, 1939
“I sometimes think it ironic for a 49-year-old ex-sea-man, longshoreman, truck driver, policeman, bus driver, etc., to find success writing children's novels,” Brian Jacques stated in a publisher's promotional piece.
The son of a truck driver and a homemaker, Jacques attended a Roman Catholic school in Liverpool. He worked several jobs— besides those already mentioned, he was a railway fireman, a docks representative, and a freelance radio broadcaster. His music programs included “Jakestown” on British Broadcasting Corporation and “Saturday with Brian Jacques.” He wrote several documentaries and plays for television, radio, and the stage.
A patron of the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, he wrote his first novel, Redwall, intending it to be read at this children's home. A publisher took an interest in the book, and the story stretched into a trilogy and then beyond. Teenagers as well as adults are fans of Jacques's Redwall series, books about animal characters in medieval times.
“What on the surface appears to be just another medieval fantasy peopled with animals enacting the fight to the death between good and evil is actually a rich and thought-provoking novel on the nature of good and evil,” reviewer Susan M. Harding commented on Jacques's Redwall. “The peaceful life of the mice of Redwall Abbey is shattered by the onslaught of the fierce rat, Cluny the Scourge, and his army of rats, weasels and other vermin.… Cluny cannot be